So I have a 46BF with a aqua clear hob filter. I found someone local who has just about every canister filter that exists for sale. I was thinking the xp2 but then I thought about the fluvial and now I'm confused. I have 26 fish in the tank and tons of lace rock. Crushed coral as substrate. What do you guys suggest?
Rena, Fluval, and Eheim all have good reputations. Some other canister filters have the pump at the bottom together with the intake. That increases the likelyhood of sand and debris getting into the impeller chamber. I would avoid those models.
Most people compare flow rate, which is actually fairly meaningless. I would compare media volume. The more media volume you have, the less often you have to do filter maintenance, the less you disturb your beneficial bacteria. I recommend sticking with a reputable manufacturer, and buying the canister filter with the largest media volume you can afford. This comparison chart might come in handy.